The Latest: Alaska Senate shuffles committee assignments
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on Alaska’s special legislative session (all times local):
The Alaska Senate has shuffled committee memberships following Sen. Shelley Hughes’ departure from the Republican-led majority.
The Senate Committee on Committees announced Monday that Hughes will be replaced on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee by Sen. Peter Micciche (mih-CHIK’-ee) and on Senate Resources by Sen. Click Bishop.
Hughes will be replaced on the Senate Finance Committee by Sen. Gary Stevens.
The Palmer Republican will remain on the Senate Education Committee.
Hughes left the caucus earlier this year in breaking with the Senate majority on a budget vote.
Hughes is fighting cancer, and said in a Facebook video that she will be undergoing a procedure this week. She has an excused absence from the special session into next week.
The Alaska Legislature has convened its fourth special session this year.
Gov. Bill Walker has asked lawmakers to consider a wage tax and to respond to public outcry over crime by revising a sweeping criminal justice overhaul passed last year.
Walker sees new revenue as a key component of a plan to address a multibillion-dollar state deficit that has persisted amid low oil prices. But he faces a challenge in selling skeptical lawmakers on his tax proposal.
Lawmakers opened the session Monday in Juneau.
House and Senate committees planned to get to work immediately, with Monday committee hearings focused on crime.
The week’s calendar also includes meetings unrelated to the session topics, such as an inaugural meeting of a new working group on oil and gas taxes.